Gauchos clinch NBL title share

Running back John Porchivina broke loose for a school record 301 rushing yards as Casa Grande clinched the North Bay League football title with a 42-28 win over stubborn Windsor Friday night.

Porchivina took advantage of a tremendous push up front by the Gaucho forward wall running for over a hundred yards in each half to eclipse the school rushing mark of 287 yards as Casa led for the entire game over the offensive-minded visiting Jaguars. The previous record was set by Joe Trombetta in 2003.

"John will get the credit he deserves, but it would not have been possible without the effort up front by our entire line," said a happy coach Trent Herzog. "This was one of our best offensive games of the season. The line opened the holes and Porch found them."

The win clinches at least a tie for Casa in the North Bay standings with one final game against second-place Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa next Friday. "We have already got a first place (North Coast section playoff) selection in the conference pre-league drawing held before the beginning of the season," noted Herzog. Newman held off Rancho Cotate, 42-41, to remain one game behind the Gauchos.

Casa Grande (9-0) will attempt to cap a perfect regular season with a win over Newman, but the task could be a difficult one. Newman runs the same spread offense as Windsor and the Jags scored four times from many angles to keep the game on Casa's Senior Night very entertaining.

The Gauchos scored on their first three possessions to almost turn the game into a rout early. Porchivina scored on runs of 38 and 83 yards in the first period and Windsor had no defensive answers. The long-striding senior pulled away from every pursuer on both runs.

Following a two-yard touchdown burst by teammate Cody Hughson, the Gauchos went up 21-7 and drove again into scoring territory. The drive stalled however, and a 34-yard field goal attempt by Matt Abramo sailed wide of the uprights.

Windsor quarterback Colin McAlvain kept his club in the hunt by completing enough key passes from the spread formation to keep drives alive. After a double pass play got the ball deep inside Gaucho territory in the first period, the Jaguars hustled to the line of scrimmage to score a touchdown on a 20-yard run by Christian Roberge before the Gauchos could react. The tally cut the margin to 14-7 and Windsor began to stay close enough to make things interesting.

In the second quarter, McAlvain connected with wide out Matt Basich on a 63-yard scoring play when a Casa defender in the secondary fell in coverage.

"I thought we did a better job defensively in the second half, but there are still some things we have to tighten up," said Herzog after congratulating his players on their NBL title.

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